This article is provided by Victor Vallee
The 101st Indianapolis 500 is only five days away and the storylines continue to saturate the 11 rows of fearless pilots that will compete in the 101st edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. With that said, Eastside Sports will continue to preview the rows of drivers that make up the field for the 500 mile sweepstakes, with rows 7 and 8 today.
24th — Carlos Muñoz (#14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet); The Colombian who has finished twice runner-up in the Indianapolis 500 in four starts looks to put together another stellar performance to win the 500 in his fifth start in the race, which also comes as his first start for the legendary AJ Foyt, who has won the 500 four times as a driver and once as an owner in 1999 with Kenny Bräck. Muñoz qualified at a 4 lap average of 227.921 mph, which was good enough to put the fifth-year driver on the outside of row 8.
23rd — Simon Pagenaud (#1 Team Penske Chevrolet); The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion has found himself in a very big hole come raceday, as the slowest qualified Team Penske entry. Although Pagenaud has not won the 500, he has won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before, with two wins in the IndyCar Grand Prix, with his most recent victory in that race coming last year. The Frenchman picked up his first oval victory earlier this year at the Phoenix International Raceway in April. Pagenaud qualified at an average of 228.093 mph in his 4 lap qualifying attempt Sunday and looks to move forward from his starting spot in the middle of row 8.
22nd — Josef Newgarden (#2 Team Penske Chevrolet); Team Penske’s newest addition to the stable has struggled this month of May, with a dismal 11th place finish in the IndyCar Grand Prix earlier this month and an accident last Thursday in practice for the 500. The young American finished 3rd in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 last year and looks to do two places better for the legendary Team Penske. The Henderson, Tennessee native has already won this year, at Barber Motorsports Park in April. Newgarden qualified the same car he had an accident in Thursday at a speed of 228.501 mph, which puts him on the inside of Row 8.
21st — Sage Karam (#24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet); The 22 year-old Nazareth, Pa. native looks to finish the 500 for the first time since his rookie season in 2014, as his two latest attempts to win the Borg Warner Trophy ended after contact for the young American. Karam’s rookie class in 2014 included NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and Russian Mikhail Aleshin, one of the strongest rookie classes in recent memory at the speedway. Karam qualified on the outside of row 7 with a speed of 229.380 mph.
20th — Jay Howard (#77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda); After 6 years away from the track, Jay Howard will return to Speedway, IN to compete in his 2nd 500, after being replaced in 2008, failing to qualify in 2010, but finally making the field for Sam Schmidt in 2011. Howard carries Team One Cure, a brand of the Tony Stewart Foundation, which has Tony Stewart back at the Speedway in the month of May for the first time since 2001. Howard qualified the Schmidt Peterson Honda in the middle of Row 7 with an average speed of 229.414 mph.
19th — Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Chevrolet); The 3-time Indianapolis 500 champion is the 2nd lowest qualified former champ in the field, which surprised experts and fans alike The 3-time champion has struggled and has been unable to find speed in practice throughout the month. Helio, still running for the same team he won his 3 Indianapolis 500’s with, looks to join the elite club of 4-time winners of the 500 mile sweepstakes. The 42 year-old Brazilian will start on the inside of row 7 after qualifying his #3 Team Penske Chevrolet at an average speed of 229.515 mph.
Categories: Indy 500